Host a Virtual Happy Hour

While we are practicing social distancing, through social media we are also witnessing the resiliency, creativity, and unity of people all over the world. In Italy, neighbors leaned out of their windows and stood on their terraces while belting out the words to “B*tch Better have my Money” by Rihanna. Djs are throwing virtual brunches, day parties, and night parties, including @djpryhme and @dnice. @dnice had over 100k people watch his live session and it lasted over 8 hours! @Ilovekickboxing_waldorf_md is facilitating daily workouts and a personal trainer in Seville, Spain stood on his roof and led a workout for his neighbors who carried out his instructions on their balconies. And by now, I’m sure you have been invited to participate in at least one challenge: see 10 do 10, the beauty challenge, and/or the shot challenge. You may have even been invited to a virtual happy hour considered hosted one. Whether you are attending a virtual happy hour or hosting your own, I have some tips to keep everyone entertained.

Virtual happy hours, like all happy hours, are more fun the longer they go on (wink, wink). People start getting talkative and they loosen up after a couple drinks. So, how do you facilitate this virtually? Below are some apps, rules, and games that will help you make the most out of your virtual happy hour.

Apps for hosting a virtual Happy Hour:

Free apps are the best, in my opinion!

  1. Group Facetime: If everyone has an iphone or ipad you can all meet up there and happy hour can last as long as you all can.
  2. Houseparty: This is a free app. The time is unlimited, but you can only have eight people in the “party” at once.
  3. Zoom: This is another free app, but there is a 40-minute time limit on meetings. If you want more time you must buy a subscription. The best part though is that you can have up to 100 people online at one time.

Rules for Participation:

  1. Everyone must use their webcam and audio. No lurkers.
  2. Everyone should have a drink of their choice, but preferably one that contains alcohol.
  3. Last person to join the call (happy hour) must take a shot/or big gulp of their drink.

Games to keep the party going:  

  1. Virtual Scavenger Hunt: A scavenger hunt is a great way to get people moving and keep them engaged. You can set up different teams and set a theme for the scavenger hunt. For example, you can have the women compete against the men and give them 20-seconds to find survival items. For example, the host could start by asking them to bring back a flashlight. After 20-seconds if more girls have brought back a flashlight then the guys must take a shot and vice versa. If there are all parents at the happy hour, you could have people find baby items. The host could suggest the first round of topics and/or things to find but you could get the participants involved as well. Each participant should suggest something to find and if the host calls on a participant and they can’t think of anything related to the theme, then they are required to take a shot and you should move on to the next person. This helps keep the party going.
  2. Virtual “Never Have I Ever”: This game will help you accomplish two things: get everyone drinking and learning about your friends. Take turns making “never have I ever…” statements. Anyone on the call who has done what you haven’t takes a shot or big gulp of their drink. If the host calls a participant’s name and they don’t have a statement prepared, they are required to take a shot and you should move on to the next question. Again, this helps keep the party going.
  3. Virtual “Bingo”: If you just want to have a good time and drink at a slower pace (lol!) virtual Bingo is probably a better game to play but everyone must plan ahead for it to be successful. Send an email to all of the participants with blank bingo card templates and a list of options to fill in the squares. If people do not have access to a printer, they can just draw some empty bingo cards. Similar to the other games, the list could be themed-based, so one card could be filled out with “things you have done since being quarantined,” “things your mother used to say,” “songs that make you want to dance,” or it could be a list of random things. The bingo card has 25 squares so each list should contain at least 40 options. If you can’t think of that many options, google the theme or ask friends to help you develop the list before sending the initial email. The lists are important for ensuring all Bingo cards are different. Additionally, in the email, tell your friends to complete two different Bingo cards. This will help with transitioning easily from one game to another.

Before the game begins, have your friends show their completed cards and state which color writing utensil they will be utilizing to mark their cards. If your friends are like mines, they might try to cheat by filling in the options as the facilitator calls them out. Finally, once someone calls out, “Bingo!” and the card is verified (which means you have to keep track of what has been called), everyone but the winner takes a shot.

To keep it interesting and not run your friends from away, alternate rounds of each game. Round 1 you could have the scavenger hunt. Round 2 you could play “never have I ever”. Round 3 you could play “Bingo”, then back to the scavenger hunt.

Sending  virtual cheers to your next virtual happy hour! Let me know who it goes!

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